The Green Goddess: A Play in Four Acts by William Archer.
The PRIEST, understanding the situation, makes a sort of contemptuous salaam.
The Archbishop's manners are not good. You will excuse him. He regards you, I regret to say, as unclean creatures, whose very presence means pollution. He would be a mine of information for an anthropologist.
He exchanges a few words with the PRIEST, and turns again to his guests. (188)
His Grace reminds me of some arrangements for tomorrow's ceremony, which, as Archbishop of Canterbury, I must attend to in person. You will excuse me for half an hour? Pray make yourselves at home. Tiffinat half-past twelve. (189)
He speaks a few words to the PRIEST, who replies in a sort of growl. (190)
His Grace says au revoir--and so do I. (191)
Exit, followed by the PRIEST. Both TRAHERNE and LUCILLA are about to speak. CRESPIN motions them to be cautious. He goes to the billiard-room, opens the door, looks around and closes it again. LUCILLA examines the balcony. TRAHERNE slips up to the centre door and noiselessly tests it.
TRAHERNE: [to CRESPIN] What was the message?
CRESPIN: It said that the lady had accepted her life--on his terms.
TRAHERNE: Oh!--a trap for us.
CRESPIN: Yes. A put-up job.
LUCILLA: You gave no sign, Antony. I think he must have been reassured.
TRAHERNE: Evidently; or he wouldn't have left us here.
CRESPIN: What to do now?
TRAHERNE: Can we break open the door?
CRESPIN: No good. It would make a noise. We'd be interrupted, and then it would be all up.
TRAHERNE: Well, then, the next step is to try to bribe Watkins.
CRESPIN: I don't believe it's a bit of good.
TRAHERNE: Nor I. The fellow's a thorough-paced scoundrel. But we might succeed, and if we don't even try they'll suspect that we're plotting something else. If we can convince them that we're at our wits' end, we've the better chance of taking them off their guard. (192)
LUCILLA: Yes--you see that, Antony?
CRESPIN: Perhaps you're right. (193) But, even if the damned scoundrel can be bought, what good is it if I can't remember the wave-length and the call for Amil-Serai?
LUCILLA: You'll think of it all of a sudden.
CRESPIN: Not if I keep racking my brains for it. If I could get my mind off it, the damned thing might come back to me.
TRAHERNE: All the more reason for action. But first, we must settle what message to send if we get the chance.
LUCILLA: [ sits at writing-table] Dictate--I'll write.
TRAHERNE: What about this? 'Major Crespin, wife, Traherne imprisoned, Rukh, Raja's palace, lives in danger'.
LUCILLA writes on an envelope which she takes from the paper-case. CRESPIN: We want something more definite. (194)
LUCILLA: How would this do? 'Death threatened tomorrow evening. Rescue urgent.
LUCILLA finishes the message, and hands it to CRESPIN.
CRESPIN: [reads] 'Major Crespin, wife, Traherne, imprisoned, Rukh, Raja's palace. Death threatened tomorrow evening. Rescue urgent'. [takes the paper] Right. I'll keep it ready.
TRAHERNE: Now, how to get hold of Watkins?
LUCILLA: [at the table] There's a bell here. Shall I try it?
TRAHERNE: Hold on a moment. We have to decide what to do if he won't take money, and we have to use force in order to get his keys.
CRESPIN: [looking around] There's nothing here to knock him on the head with--not even a chair you can lift
TRAHERNE: Not a curtain cord to truss him up with
LUCILLA: The first thing would be to gag him, wouldn't it? [takes off her scarf] Would this do for that?
TRAHERNE: Capital! [takes the scarf, ties a knot in it and places it on the upper end of the sofa]
CRESPIN: What about a billiard cue?
TRAHERNE: If he saw it around he'd smell a rat. (195)
CRESPIN: Then there's only one thing
CRESPIN points to the balcony, and makes a significant gesture.
LUCILLA: Oh! [shrinks away from the window]
TRAHERNE: I'm afraid it can't be helped. There's a drop of a good hundred feet.
CRESPIN: None too much for him.
TRAHERNE: When he locked that door he put the key in his trousers pocket. We must remember to get it before--(196)
LUCILLA: But if you kill him and still don't remember the call, we shall be no better off than we are now.
TRAHERNE: We shall be no worse off.
CRESPIN: Better, by Jove! For if I can get three minutes at that instrument, the Raja can't tell whether we have communicated or not.
He takes up the glass of whiskey-and-soda which he has poured out before.
LUCILLA: Oh, Antony!
CRESPIN: Don't be a fool, Lu. [gulps down the drink sand says as he pours out more whiskey] It's because I'm so unnaturally sober that my brain won't work. [drinks the whiskey raw] Now ring that bell. [LUCILLA does so] You do the talking, Traherne. The fellow's damned insolence gets on my nerves. (197)
TRAHERNE: All right [sits at the writing table] (198)
CRESPIN: Look out.
Enter WATKINS, second door, left. (199)
WATKINS: You rang, sir? [standing by the door] (200)
TRAHERNE: Yes, Watkins, we want a few words with you. Do you mind coming over here? We don't want to speak loud.
WATKINS: There's no one understands English, sir.
TRAHERNE: Please oblige me, all the same.
WATKINS: [coming forward] Now, sir!
TRAHERNE: I daresay you can guess what we want with you.
WATKINS: I'm no 'and at guessin', sir. I'd rather you'd put it plain.
TRAHERNE: Well, you know that we've fallen into the hands of bloodthirsty savages? You know what is proposed for tomorrow?
WATKINS: I've 'eard as your numbers is up.
TRAHERNE: You surely don't intend to stand by and see us murdered--three of your own people, and one of them a lady?
WATKINS: My own people, is it? And a lady--!
LUCILLA: A woman, then, Watkins.
WATKINS: What has my own people ever done for me--or women either that I should lose a cushy job and risk my neck for the sake of the three of you? I wouldn't do it for all your bloomin' England, I tell you straight.
CRESPIN: It's no good, Traherne. Come down to tin tacks.
TRAHERNE: Only a sighting shot, Major. It was just possible we might have misread our man.
WATKINS: You did if you took 'im for a VC 'ero wot 'ud lay down his life for England, 'ome and beauty. (201) The first thing England ever done for me was to 'ave me sent to a reformatory for pinching a silver rattle off of a young haristocrat in a p'rambulator. That, and the likes of that, is wot I've got to thank England for. And why did I do it? Because my mother would have bashed my face in if I'd have come back empty-handed. That's wot 'ome and beauty has meant for me. W'y should I care more for a woman being scragged than what I do for a man? (202)
TRAHERNE: Ah, yes, I quite see your point of view. But the question now is: What'll you take to get us out of this?
WATKINS: Get you out of this! If you was to offer me millions, 'ow could I do
TRAHERNE: By going into that room and sending this message through to the Amil-Serai aerodrome.
CRESPIN hands WATKINS the message. He reads it through and places it on the table.
WATKINS: So that's the game, is it?
TRAHERNE: That, as you say, is the game.
WATKINS: You know what you're riskin'?
TRAHERNE: What do you mean?
WATKINS: W'y, if the Guv'nor (203) suspected as you'd got a word through to India, ten to one he'd wipe you off the slate like that [snapping his fingers] without waiting for tomorrow.
CRESPIN: That makes no difference. We've got to face it.
TRAHERNE: Come now! On your own showing, Mr Watkins, loyalty to your master oughtn't to stand in your way. I don't suppose gratitude is one of your weaknesses.
WATKINS: Gratitude! To 'im? What for? I'm not badly off here, to be sure, but it's nothing to wot I does for 'im; and I 'ate 'im for 'is funny little ways. D'you think I don't see that he's always pulling my leg?
TRAHERNE: Well, then, you won't mind selling him. We've only to settle the price.
WATKINS: That's all very fine, sir; but what price 'ave you gents to offer?
TRAHERNE: Nothing down--no spot cash--that's clear. You'll have to take our word for whatever bargain we come to.
WATKINS: Your word! How do I know--?
TRAHERNE: Oh, our written word. We'll give it to you in writing.
WATKINS: [after thinking for a moment] If I was to 'elp you out, there must be no more fairy-tales about any of you 'avin' seen me in India.
TRAHERNE: All right. We accept your assurance that you never were there. (204)
WATKINS: And see here. Dr Traherne--you know very well I couldn't stay here after I'd helped you to escape--leastways, if I stayed, it'd be in my grave. You'll 'ave to take me with you--and for that I can only have your word. Supposing you could get the message through, and the English was to come, no writing could bind you if you chose to leave me in the lurch.
TRAHERNE: Quite true. I'm afraid you'll have to trust us for that. But I give you my word of honor that we would be as careful of your safety as if you were one of ourselves. I suppose you know that, strange as you may think it, there are people in the world that would rather die than break a solemn promise.
CRESPIN: Even to a hound like you, Watkins.
WATKINS: I advise you to keep a civil tongue in yer 'ead, Major. (205) Don't forget that I 'ave you in the 'ollow of my 'and.
TRAHERNE: True, Watkins; and the hollow of your hand is a very disagreeable place to be in. That's why we're willing to pay well to get out of it. Come, now, what shall we say?
WATKINS: Well, what about a little first instalment? You ain't quite on your uppers, are you, now? You could come down with something, be it ever so humble?
TRAHERNE: [examining his pocket-book] I have 300 rupees and five ten-pound notes. [places the money on the table]
WATKINS: And you, Major?
CRESPIN: Two hundred and fifty rupees. [crosses and lays the notes on the table] Oh, and some loose change.
WATKINS: [nobly] Oh, never mind the chicken-feed! (206) And the lady?
LUCILLA: I gave my last rupee to your wife, Watkins.
WATKINS: Well, that's about 120 [pounds sterling] to go on with.
TRAHERNE: [placing his hand on the heap of notes] There. That's your first installment. Now what about the balance? Shall we say 1000 [pounds sterling] apiece?
WATKINS: A thousand apiece! Three thousand pounds! You're joking, Dr Traherne! Wot would 3000 [pounds sterling] be to me in England? W'y, I'd 'ave to take to valetting again. No, no, sir! If I'm to do this job, I must 'ave enough to make a gentleman of me.
[CRESPIN, TRAHERNE and LUCILLA burst out laughing.]
Well, you are the queerest lot as ever I come across. Your lives is 'anging by an' air, and yet you can larf!
LUCILLA: [hysterically] It's your own fault, Watkins. Why will you be so funny?
[Her laughter turns to tears and she buries her face in the end of the couch, shaken with sobs.]
TRAHERNE: I'm afraid what you ask is beyond our means, Watkins. But I double my bid--two thousand apiece.
WATKINS: You'll 'ave to double it again, sir, and a little more. You write me out an IOU for fifteen thousand pounds, and I'll see wot can be done.
CRESPIN: Well, you are the most consummate--
WATKINS: If your lives ain't worth five thousand apiece to you, there's nothing doing. For my place here is worth fifteen thousand to me. And there's all the risk, too--I'm not charging you nothing for that.
TRAHERNE: We appreciate your generosity, Watkins. Fifteen thousand be it!
WATKINS: Now you're talking.
TRAHERNE rapidly writes and signs the IOU and hands it to WATKINS.
WATKINS: That's right, sir; but the Major must sign it, too.
CRESPIN: [crosses to the table, on which WATKINS places the paper, writes, throws down the pen] There you are, damn you!
TRAHERNE: Now get to work quick, and call up Amil-Serai. (207)
WATKINS: Right you are, sir.
[Picks up the envelope and begins, in a leisurely way, unlocking the centre door] CRESPIN: Isn't there some special call you must send out to get Amil-Serai?
WATKINS: Oh, yes, sir, I know it.
WATKINS takes his seat at the instrument with his back to the snuggery, and begins to work it.
CRESPIN: [whispers] That's not a service call. (208)
WATKINS: Right! Got them, sir. Now the message.
CRESPIN: [As WATKINS works the key, CRESPIN spells out]
'The--white--goats--are--ready--for--' (209) [to TRAHERNE] No, but the black sheep is! Come on!
CRESPIN tiptoes up toward WATKINS followed by TRAHERNE. As he passes
the upper end of the sofa CRESPIN picks up LUCILLA's scarf and hands it to TRAHERNE, meantime producing his own handkerchief. LUCILLA rises, her hand pressed to her mouth. The men steal up close behind WATKINS. Suddenly TRAHERNE jams the gag in WATKINS' mouth, and ties the ends of the scarf. WATKINS attempts a cry, but it trails off into a gurgle. CRESPIN meantime grips WATKINS' arms behind, and ties the wrists with his handkerchief. TRAHERNE makes fast the gag, and the two lift him, struggling, and carry him towards the window. WATKINS' head falls back, and his terror-stricken eyes can be seen over the swathing gag. They rest him for a moment on the balustrade.
TRAHERNE: Must we--?
CRESPIN: Nothing else for it--one, two, three!
They heave him over. LUCILLA, who has been watching, petrified, gives a gasping cry. (210)
CRESPIN: At least we haven't taken it lying down!
He pours out some whiskey and is about to drink when he pauses, puts down the glass, and then cries in great excitement:
Hold on! Don't speak! [a pause] I have it! [another pause] Yes, by God, I have it! I've remembered the call! Can you lock that door?
LUCILLA: [ at second door, left] No key this side!
TRAHERNE: [whispering, and running to the door] Don't open it. There are soldiers in the passage. I'll hold it.
He stations himself before the door. CRESPIN rushes to the instrument and rapidly examines it.
CRESPIN: The scoundrel had reduced the current. [makes an adjustment with feverish haste] Now the wave length!
More adjustment. He begins to transmit. A pause (211)
TRAHERNE: Do you get any answer?
CRESPIN: No, no; I don't expect any--I'm sure they haven't the power. But it's an even chance that I get them all the same.
He goes on transmitting hurriedly while TRAHERNE and LUCILLA stand breathless, TRAHERNE with his shoulder to the door. (212)
TRAHERNE: Some one's coming up the passage! Go on! Go on! I'll hold the door.
Another slight pause while CRESPIN transmits feverishly. Suddenly TRAHERNE braces himself against the door, gripping the handle. After a moment, there is a word of command outside, the sound of shoulders heaved against the door, and it is gradually pushed open by three guards. (213) TRAHERNE is shoved back by its motion.
The RAJA enters, rushes forward and grasps the situation.
Ah! When the cat's away--
He whips out a revolver and fires. (214)
CRESPIN: Got me, by God!
He falls forward over the instrument, but immediately recovers himself, and rapidly unmakes the adjustments. LUCILLA and TRAHERNE catch him as he staggers back from the instrument, and lay him on the couch.
TRAHERNE: [kneeling and supporting him] Brandy!
LUCILLA gets the glass. They put it to his lips. The RAJA meanwhile goes to the wireless table, sees the draft message and reads it.
RAJA: [holding the paper] How much of this did you get through?
CRESPIN: [raising himself a little] Damn you--none!
Falls back dead.
LUCILLA: [crying out] Antony!
RAJA: All over, eh?
TRAHERNE, still kneeling, makes an affirmative sign.
At this moment a noise is heard outside, and three soldiers burst open the door and rush in. One of them speaks to the RAJA, pointing to the window, the other two rush up to TRAHERNE, seize him and drag him over to the left. LUCILLA remains kneeling by CRESPIN's body. The RAJA goes calmly over to the window and looks out.
RAJA: [returning to centre] Tut tut--most inconvenient. And foolish on your part for now, if my brothers should be reprieved, we cannot hear of it. [looks at the message reflectively] Otherwise, the situation remains unchanged. We adhere to our programme for tomorrow. The Major has only a few hours' start of you. (215)
A gloomy hall, its roof supported by four wooden columns, two in a row, rudely carved with distorted animal and human figures. The walls are also of rudely-carved wood, and are pierced all round, at the height of about twelve feet, by a sort of clerestory--a series of oblong slits or unglazed windows through which the sky can be seen. The general tone of the wood is dark brown, but the interstices between the carvings have here and there been filled in with dull red. There is a high curtained doorway, left, leading to a sort of robing-room. Opposite to it, right, a two-leaved wooden door, closed with a heavy wooden bolt. An oblong hole in the door, with a sliding shutter, enables the guard within to inspect whoever approaches from without. At the back, centre, is a wide opening, curtained at the beginning of the Act. When the curtains are withdrawn, they reveal a sort of balcony or tribune, raised by two steps above the level of the hall, over the balustrade of which can be seen the head and shoulders of a colossal image of the Goddess, apparently at a distance of some fifty yards. Between the two foremost columns, on a dais of two steps, a wide throne, which has for its backing a figure of the Goddess carved in high relief, amid a good deal of barbaric tracery. The figure is green, but there are touches of gold in her crown, her ornaments, and in the tracery. A low brazier rests on the ground in front of the throne.
The hall is a sort of anteroom to the public place of sacrifice without.
Late afternoon light comes in through the clerestory on the left.
When the curtain rises, a group of PRIESTS is gathered round the doorway, left, while the CHIEF PRIEST stands at the centre, holding the curtains a little way apart and looking out. A PRIEST is on guard at the door, right.
For a moment after the rise of the curtain, there is a regular and subdued murmur from the crowd without. Then it swells into a chorus of execrations. The CHIEF PRIEST gives an order to the other Priests, left, one of whom goes off through the doorway? (216) The guard at the door, right, slips back the shutter and looks out, then unbolts the door (217) and admits TRAHERNE, strapped to a mountain chair, and guarded by two soldiers, who withdraw? (218) At the same time, the RAJA, in splendid Eastern attire, enters, left? (219)
RAJA: Well, Doctor, it doesn't appear that any 'god from the machine' is going to interfere with our programme. (220)
TRAHERNE: You are bringing a terrible vengeance upon yourself.
RAJA: Think, my dear Doctor. If, as the Major said, he did not get your SOS through, I have nothing to fear. If he lied, and did get it through, nothing can ultimately save me, and I may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.
TRAHERNE: [writhing in his bonds] You might have spared me this!
RAJA: A ritual detail, Doctor; not quite without reason. Persons lacking in self-control might throw themselves to the ground or otherwise disarrange the ceremony.
He speaks a word, and the bearers promptly release TRAHERNE and carry the chair out, right.
TRAHERNE: What have you done with Mrs Crespin?
RAJA: Don't be alarmed. She'll be here in due time.
TRAHERNE: Listen to me, Raja. Do what you will with me, but let Mrs Crespin go. Send her to India or to Russia, and I am sure, for her children's sake, she will swear to keep absolute silence as to her husband's fate and mine.
RAJA: You don't believe, then, that I couldn't save you if I would?
TRAHERNE: Believe it? No!
RAJA: You are quite right, my dear Doctor. I am not a High Priest for nothing. I might work the oracle. I might get a command from the Goddess to hurt no hair upon your heads.
TRAHERNE: Then what devilish pleasure do you find in putting us to death?
RAJA: Pleasure? The pleasure of a double vengeance. Vengeance for today my brothers--and vengeance for centuries of subjection and insult. (221) Do you know what brought you here? It was not blind chance, any more than it was the Goddess. It was my will, my craving for revenge, that drew you here by a subtle, irresistible magnetism. My will is my religion--my god. And by that god I have sworn that you shall not escape me.
Yells from the crowd outside.
Ah, they are bringing Mrs Crespin.
The PRIEST unbolts the door, right, and LUCILLA is carried in. (222)
RAJA: I apologize, Madam, for the manners of my people. Their fanaticism is beyond my control.
He says a word to the bearers, who release LUCILLA. TRAHERNE gives her his hand, and she steps from the chair, which the bearers remove, right.
TRAHERNE: How long have we left?
RAJA: Till the sun's rim touches the crest of the mountain. A blast of our great mountain horn will announce the appointed hour, and you will be led out to the sacred enclosure. You saw the colossal image of the Goddess out yonder?
He points to the back. They look at each other in silence. (223)
TRAHERNE: Will you grant us one last request?
RAJA: By all means, if it is in my power. (224) In spite of your inconsiderate action of yesterday
RAJA: Watkins, you know--poor Watkins--a great loss to me! But a la guerre comme a la guerre! I bear no malice for a fair act of war. I am anxious to show you every consideration. (225)
TRAHERNE: Then you will leave us alone for the time that remains to us.
RAJA: Why, by all means. And oh, by the way, you need have no fear of the ceremony --being protracted. It will be brief and--I trust--painless. The High Church Party are not incapable of cruelty; but I have resolutely set my face against it.
LUCILLA has meanwhile stood stonily gazing straight in front of her. The RAJA reflects for a moment, and then goes up to her.
Before I go, Madam, may I remind you of my offer of yesterday? It is not yet too late. [LUCILLA takes no notice.] Is it just to your children to refuse? [She looks at him stonily, saying nothing. After a pause] Immovable? So be it!
He turns to go. At this moment a great yell of triumphant hatred goes up from the populace.
Your husband's body, Madam. They are laying it the feet of the Goddess.
LUCILLA: You promised me--
RAJA: That is should be burnt. (226) I will keep my promise. But you see I had three brothers--a head for a head.
He goes into the inner chamber, encircled by his Priests. (227) Only the GUARD at the door, right, remains, half hidden by the door jamb.
LUCILLA and TRAHERNE are left alone. LUCILLA sinks down upon the broad base of the foremost pillar, left.
LUCILLA: So this is the end!
TRAHERNE: What offer did that devil make you?
LUCILLA: Oh, I didn't mean to tell you, but I may as well. He is an ingenious tormentor. He offered yesterday to let me live, and to kidnap the children and bring them here to me--you know on what terms.
TRAHERNE: To bring the children here?
LUCILLA: He said in a month I might have them in my arms. Think of it! Ronny and Iris in my arms!
A pause. TRAHERNE stands with his back to her.
TRAHERNE: [in a low and unsteady voice] Are you sure you did right to refuse? LUCILLA: Do you mean--?
TRAHERNE: [louder and almost harshly] Are you sure it is not wrong to refuse?
LUCILLA: Oh, how can you--? Right? Wrong? What are right and wrong to me now? If I could see my children again, would any scruple of 'right or 'wrong make me shrink from anything that was possible? But this is so utterly, utterly impossible.
TRAHERNE: Forgive me. You know it would add an unspeakable horror to death if I had to leave you here. But I felt I must ask you whether you had fully considered
LUCILLA: I have thought of nothing else through all these torturing hours.
TRAHERNE: How brave you are!
LUCILLA: Not brave, not brave. If I could live, I would--there, I confess it! But I should die of shame and misery, and leave my children--to that man. Or, if I did live, what sort of a mother should I be to them? They would be much better without me! Oh my precious, precious darlings! (228)
She clasps her arms across her breast and rocks herself in agony. A short silence.
TRAHERNE: [lays his hand on her shoulder] Lucilla!
LUCILLA: [looking up] Oh, Basil, say you think it won't be altogether bad for them! They will never know anything of their father now, but what was good. And their mother will simply have vanished into the skies. They will think she has flown away to heaven--and who knows but it may be true? There may be something beyond this hell.
TRAHERNE: We shall know soon, Lucilla.
LUCILLA: But to go away and leave them without a word--! Poor little things, poor little things.
TRAHERNE: They will remember you as something very dear and beautiful. The very mystery will be like a halo about you.
LUCILLA: Shall I see them again, Basil? Tell me that.
TRAHERNE: Who knows? Even to comfort you, I won't say I am certain. But I do sincerely think you may.
LUCILLA: [smiling woefully] You think there is a sporting chance?
TRAHERNE: More than that. This life is such a miracle--could any other be more incredible?
LUCILLA: But even if I should meet them in another world, they would not be my Ronny and Iris, but a strange man and a strange woman, built up of experiences in which I had had no share. Oh, it was cunning, cunning, what that devil said to me! He said 'God Himself cannot give you back their childhood.
TRAHERNE: How do you know that God is going to take their childhood from you? You may be with them this very night--with them, unseen, but perhaps not unfelt, all the days of their life.
LUCILLA: You are saying that to make what poor Antony called a 'haze for me--to soften the horror of darkness that is waiting for us? Don't give me 'dope, Basil--I can face things without it.
TRAHERNE: I mean every word of it. [ A pause] Why do you smile?
LUCILLA: At a thought that came to me--the thought of poor Antony as a filmy, purified spirit. It seems so unthinkable. (229)
TRAHERNE: Why unthinkable? Why may he not still exist, though he has left behind him the nerves, the cravings, that tormented him--and you. You have often told me that there was something fine in the depths of his nature; and you know how he showed it yesterday.
LUCILLA: Oh, if I could only tell the children how he died!
TRAHERNE: But his true self was chained to a machine that was hopelessly out of gear. The chain is broken: the machine lies out there--scrapped. Do you think that he was just that machine, and nothing else?
LUCILLA: I don't know. I only feel that Antony spiritualized would not be Antony. And you, Basil--if Antony leaves his--failings, you must leave behind your work. Do you want another life in which there is no work to be done no disease to be rooted out? [with a mournful smile] Don't tell me you don't long to take your microscope with you wherever you may be going.
TRAHERNE: Perhaps there are microscopes awaiting me there.
LUCILLA: Spirit microscopes for spirit microbes? You don't believe that, Basil.
TRAHERNE: I neither believe nor disbelieve. In all we can say of another life we are like children blind from birth, trying to picture the form and colours of the rainbow.
LUCILLA: But if the forms and colours we know are of no use to us, what comfort are we to find in formless, colourless possibilities? If we are freed from all human selfishness, shall I love my children more than any other woman's? Can I love a child I cannot kiss, that cannot look into my eyes and kiss me back again? (230)
TRAHERNE: [starting up] Oh, Lucilla, don't!
LUCILLA: What do you mean?
TRAHERNE: Don't remind me of all we are losing! I meant to leave it all unspoken - the thought of him lying out there seemed to tie my tongue. But we have only one moment on this side of eternity. Lucilla, shall I go on?
After a perceptible pause, LUCILLA bows her head.
Do you think it is with a light heart that I turn my back upon the life of earth and all it might have meant for you and me--for you and me, Lucilla!
LUCILLA: Yes, Basil, for you and me. (231)
TRAHERNE: Rather than live without you, I am glad to die with you; but oh, what a wretched gladness compared with that of living with you and loving you! I wonder if you guess what it has meant to me, ever since we met at Dehra Dun, to see you as another man's wife, bound to him by ties I couldn't ask you to break. It has been hell, hell! [looking up with a mournful smile] My love has not been quite selfish, Lucilla, since I can say I really do love your children, though I know they have stood between me and heaven.
LUCILLA: Yes, Basil, I know. I have known from the beginning.
TRAHERNE: Oh, Lucilla, have we not been fools, fools? We have sacrificed to an idol as senseless as that--[with a gesture towards the image] all the glory and beauty of life! What do I care for a bloodless, shadowy life--life in the abstract, with all the senses extinct? Is there not something in the depths of our heart that cries out 'We don't want it! Better eternal sleep!'
LUCILLA: Oh, Basil--you are going back on your own wisdom.
TRAHERNE: Wisdom! What has wisdom to say to love, thwarted and unfulfilled? You were right when you said that it is a mockery to speak of love without hands to clasp, without lips to kiss. We may be going to some pale parody of life; but in our cowardice we have killed love for ever and ever. (232)
LUCILLA: No, Basil, don't call it cowardice. I, too, regret--perhaps as much as you--that things were--as they were. But not even your love could have made up to me for my children.
A trumpet-blast is heard--a prolonged deep, wailing sound.
There is the signal! Good-bye, dear love. (233)
She holds out her hands to him. They kiss and stand embraced, until, at a sound of tom-toms and a low muttered chant from behind the curtains, left, they part, and stand hand in hand, facing the doorway.
Suddenly, at a great shattering note from a gong, (234) the curtains of the doorway part, and a procession of chanting PRIEST enters, all wearing fantastic robes and headdresses, and all, except the CHIEF PRIEST, masked. (235) The RAJA follows them, also wearing a priestly headdress and gorgeously robed. Behind him come three dark-robed and masked figures, carrying heavy swords. (236) Musicians bring up the rear. (237)
The Priests group themselves round the throne.
RAJA: [to TRAHERNE and LUCILLA, who are standing in front of the throne] May I trouble you to move a little aside? I am, for the moment, not a king, but a priest, and must observe a certain dignity. Ridiculous, isn't it? (238)
They move over to the right of the throne. He advances in stately fashion and seats himself on it.
RAJA: [to LUCILLA] Must I do violence to my feelings, Madam, by including you in the approaching ceremony? There is still time.
LUCILLA is silent.
We autocrats are badly brought up. We are not accustomed to having our desires, or even our whims, thwarted.
TRAHERNE: [interrupting] Will you never cease tormenting this lady?
RAJA: [totally disregarding him] Remember my power. If I may not take you back to my palace as my Queen, I can send you back as my slave.
Have you nothing to say?
RAJA: I repeat my offer as to your children.
LUCILLA: I would die a hundred times rather than see them in your hands.
RAJA: Remember, too, that, if I so will it, you cannot save them by dying. I can have them kidnapped--or--I can have them killed. (239)
LUCILLA shrieks. TRAHERNE, with a cry of 'Devil', makes a leap at the RAJA's throat, pinning him against the back of the throne. The PRIESTS instantly pull TRAHERNE off, pinion him, and drag him over to the left. They talk furiously to each other, and the CHIEF PRIEST prostrates himself before the RAJA, apparently in urgent supplication. The RAJA, who is now to the left of the throne, LUCILLA remaining on the right, quits them with some difficulty, and then turns to TRAHERNE. (240)
RAJA: Chivalrous but ill-advised, Dr Traherne. I regret it, and so will you. My colleagues here insist that, as you have laid impious hands on the chief of their sacred caste, your death alone will not appease the fury of the Goddess. They insist on subjecting you to a process of expiation--a ritual of great antiquity-- but--
TRAHERNE: You mean torture?
[LUCILLA rushes forward with a cry.]
Not you. Madam--not you LUCILLA:
I must speak to you--speak to you alone! Send Dr. Traherne away.
TRAHERNE: Lucilla! What are you thinking of! Lucilla--!
The RAJA motions to the PRIESTS, who do something to TRAHERNE which causes him to crumple up, and his voice dies away. (241)
LUCILLA: I beg you--I beg you! One minute--no more!
The RAJA looks at her for a moment then shrugs his shoulders and gives an order. (242)
TRAHERNE is dragged through the doorway, left.
LUCILLA, in her desperation, has rushed up the steps of the throne. She now sinks, exhausted, upon the end of the throne itself.
LUCILLA: Let him go, send him back to India unharmed, and--it shall be as you wish.
RAJA: Soho! You will do for your lover--to save him a little additional pain what you would not do to have your children restored to you! Suppose I agree--would he accept this sacrifice?
LUCILLA: No, no, he wouldn't--but he must have no choice. That is part of the bargain. Send him--bound hand and foot, if need be--down to Kashmir, and put him over the frontier--
RAJA: You don't care what he thinks of you?
LUCILLA: He will know what to think.
RAJA: And I too, Madam, know what to think.
Kneeling with one knee on the throne, he seizes her by the shoulders and turns her face towards him.
Come, look me in the eyes and tell me that you honestly intend to fulfil your bargain! [Her head droops.] (243) I knew it! You are playing with me! But the confiding barbarian is not so simple as you imagine. No woman has ever tried to fool me that has not repented it. You think, when you have to pay up, you will fob me off with your dead body. Let me tell you, I have no use for you dead--I want you with all the blood in your veins, with all the pride in that damned sly brain of yours. I want to make my plaything of your beauty, my mockery of your pride. I want to strip off the delicate English lady, and come down to the elemental woman, the handmaid and the instrument of man. (244)
Changing his tone.
Come now, I'll make you a plain offer. I will put Dr Traheme over the frontier, and, as they set him free, my people shall hand him a letter written by you at my dictation. You will tell him that you have determined to accept my protection and make this your home. Consequently you wish to have your children conveyed to you here--
LUCILLA: Never--never--never! I will make no bargain that involves my children.
RAJA: You see! You will give me no hostages for the fulfilment of your bond. But a pledge of your good faith I must have. For without a pledge, Madam, I don't believe in it one little bit.
LUCILLA: What pledge?
RAJA: Only one is left--Dr Traherne himself. I may--though it will strain my power to the uttermost--save his life, while keeping him in prison. Then, when you have fulfilled your bond--fulfilled it to the uttermost, mark you! when you have borne me a child--I will let him go free. But the moment you attempt to evade your pledge, by death or by escape, I will hand him over to the priests to work their will with; and I will put no restraint upon their savage instincts.
Choose, my dear lady, choose! (245)
The subdued murmur of the crowd below, which has been faintly audible during the foregoing scene, ceases, and in the silence is heard a faint, but rapidly increasing, whirr and throb. (246)
LUCILLA, who has been crouching on the steps of the throne, looks up slowly, hope dawning in her face. For a few seconds she says nothing, waiting to assure herself that she can believe her ears. Then she says in a low voice, with a sort of sob of relief
LUCILLA: Aeroplanes! [She springs up with a shriek.] The aeroplanes! Basil! Basil! The aeroplanes!
She rushes out through the doorway, left, thrusting aside the incoming PRIESTS, who are too amazed to oppose her. (247)
The RAJA does not at first alter his attitude but looks up and listens intently. The curtains shutting off the balcony at the back are violently torn apart by the guard outside, who shout to the RAJA and point upward. Sounds of consternation and terror proceed from the unseen crowd.
The RAJA goes to the back and looks out. At the same moment LUCILLA and TRAHERNE rush in from the doorway, left.
LUCILLA: See! See! They are circling lower and lower! Is it true, Basil? Are we saved?
TRAHERNE: Yes, Lucilla, we are saved.
LUCILLA: Oh, thank God! thank God! I shall see my babies again! She sways, almost fainting. TRAHERNE supports her.
RAJA: So the Major lied like a gentleman! Good old Major! I didn't think he had it in him.
The GUARDS call his attention; he looks out from the balcony, and gives an order, then turns down again. (248)
One of the machines has landed. An officer is coming this way--he looks a mere boy.
TRAHERNE: The conquerors of the air have all been mere boys.
RAJA: I have given orders that he shall be brought here unharmed. Perhaps I had better receive him with some ceremony. (249)
He goes back to the throne and seats himself, cross-legged. (250) At his command the PRIESTS range themselves about him.
RAJA: You said just now, Dr Traherne, that you are saved. Are you so certain of that?
RAJA: How many men does each of these humming-birds carry?
TRAHERNE: Two or three, but--
RAJA: I counted six planes--say at the outside twenty men. Even my toy army can cope with that number. (251)
There is a growing clamour outside. The RAJA gives an order to the PRIEST at the door, right. He throws it wide open.
FLIGHT-LIEUTENANT CARDEW saunters in, escorted by three soldiers. (252)
RAJA: Who are you sir?
CARDEW: One moment! (253)
Crosses to LUCILLA, who holds out both her hands. He takes them cordially but coolly.
Mrs Crespin! I'm very glad we're in time.
Turns to TRAHERNE
Dr Traherne, I presume? [Shakes hands with him] And Major Crespin?
TRAHERNE: Shot while transmitting our message.
CARDEW: I'm so sorry, Mrs Crespin. [to TRAHERNE] By whom?
TRAHERNE indicates the RAJA, who has meanwhile watched the scene impassively. (254)
RAJA: I am sorry to interrupt these effusions, but
CARDEW: Who are you, sir?
RAJA: I am the Raja of Rukh. And you?
CARDEW: Flight-Lieutenant Cardew. I have the honour to represent his Majesty, the King-Emperor.
RAJA: The King-Emperor? Who is that, pray? We live so out of the world here, I don't seem to have heard of him.
CARDEW: You will in a minute, Raja, if you don't instantly hand over his subjects.
RAJA: His subjects? Ah, I see you mean the King of England. What terms does his Majesty propose?
CARDEW: We make no terms with cut-throats. [looks at his wrist watch] If I do not signal your submission within three minutes of our landing--
A bomb is heard to fall at some distance. Great consternation among the PRIESTS, etc. (255)
RAJA: [unperturbed] Ah! bombs!
RAJA: I fancied your Government affected some scruple as to the slaughter of innocent civilians. (256)
CARDEW: There has been no slaughter--as yet. That bomb fell in the ravine, where it could do no harm. So will the next one Bomb nearer. Increasing hubbub without.
But the third--well if you're wise you'll throw up the sponge, and there won't be a third.
RAJA: Throw up the sponge, Lieutenant--? I didn't quite catch your name?
RAJA: Ah, yes, Lieutenant Cardew. Why on earth should I throw up the sponge? Your comrades up yonder can no doubt massacre quite a number of my subjects --a brave exploit!--but when they've spent their thunderbolts, they'll just have to fly away again--if they can. A bomb may drop on this temple, you say? In that case, you and your friends will escort me--in fragments--to my last abode. Does that prospect allure you? I call your bluff, Lieutenant Cardew.
A third bomb--very loud.
The PRIESTS rush up to the RAJA, and fall before him in panic-stricken supplication, with voluble remonstrance, pointing to the Idol in the background. The RAJA hesitates for a moment, then proceeds
RAJA: My priests, however, have a superstitious dread of these eggs of the Great Roc. They fear injury to the Sacred Image. For myself, I am always averse from bloodshed. You may, if you please, signal to your squadron commander my acceptance of your terms.
CARDEW: I thought you would come to reason.
Shaking out his flag in preparation for signalling, he hurries across to where the white beam of a searchlight is visible outside the doorway, right. He disappears for a moment. (257)
RAJA: This comes of falling behind the times. If I had had anti-aircraft guns--(258)
TRAHERNE: Thank your stars you hadn't! (259)
CARDEW: [returning] All clear for the moment, Raja. You have no further immediate consequences to fear.
RAJA: What am I to conclude from your emphasis on immediate?
CARDEW: [after whispering to TRAHERNE] I need scarcely remind you, sir, that you can only hand over the body of one of your prisoners.
RAJA: Major Crespin murdered a faithful servant of mine. His death at my hands was a fair act of war.
CARDEW: His Majesty's Government will scarcely view it in that light.
RAJA: His Majesty's Government has today, I believe, taken the lives of three kinsmen of mine. Your side has the best of the transaction by four lives to one. (260)
CARDEW: [shrugging his shoulders] Will you assign us an escort through the crowd? (261)
Gives an order to the officer of regulars, who hurries out, right? (262)
The escort will be here in a moment. [to LUCILLA and TRAHERNE] It only remains for me to speed the parting guest. I hope we may one day renew our acquaintance--oh, not here! I plainly foresee that I shall have to join the other Kings in Exile. Perhaps we may meet at Homburg or Monte Carlo, and talk over old times. Ah, here is the escort. (263)
The escort has formed at the door, right. TRAHERNE, LUCILLA and CARDEW cross to it, the RAJA following them up.
RAJA: Good-bye, dear lady. I lament the Major's end. Perhaps I was hasty; but you know, "Tis better to have loved and lost', etc. And oh--Mrs Crespin!
As she is going out, LUCILLA looks back at him with horror.
My love to the children! (264)
The PRIESTS and others are all clustered on the balcony, looking at the aeroplanes. The RAJA turns back from the door, lights a cigarette at the brazier, takes a puff, and says:
Well, well--she'd probably have been a damned nuisance.
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(1) The casting pattern of the typescript Prompt Books for the J. C. Williamson production in Sydney in 1924 (hereafter 'TS ') has a complete listing of doubling and understudy patterns. Cardew doubles as Villager (Act 1) and Servant (Act 2) and understudies Crespin; Chief Priest doubles as Temple Priest (Act 1) and understudies Traherne; the Ayah doubles as Villager (Act 1) and understudies Lucilla; the Guardian Priest doubles as Villager and Litter Bearer (Act 1) and understudies Watkins and Cardew. The character Congo (the 'giant Negro flourishing naked sabres' of the Rajah's first entrance) doubles as Black Figure (Act 4). A complex scheme of doubling is also provided for the twenty-four extras (including Musicians), and in Act 4 they provide eight Yellow, four Blue and three Black Priests.
(2) Archer's view of printed stage directions is that the old 'Right Upper Entrance signals of scenic space occasioned by wing-and-border sets should not be used for plays using modern enclosed sets; nor should Shaw's over-personalised disquisitions find their way into publication. SDs should be plain and impersonal, never annoy a reader, and visualise the imagined place of the action from the audience viewpoint, rather than decoding its staged space (William Archer, Play-Making, pp. 68-72).
(3) These references to details seen by Archer and reported in his India and the Future are explained in the Introduction.
(4) TS describes the setting in the spatial terms of the stage manager where L and R are seen from the actor's viewpoint: 'The Temple--an open space in rocky gorge encircled by gigantic snow-peaks. On Left side a rock-cut temple, of barbaric architecture. The many armed dancing figure of the Goddess can be seen between cliff at RC is the wreck of an aeroplane'. This shows a kind of tragi-comic use of the Euripidean mechane or stage machine, which has as it were collapsed on top of the skene building.
(5) TS gives the opening dialogue to the tensely waiting crowd who have just witnessed the crash, in a foreign language which, if authentic, would be a Prakritic (Indo-Aryan) form such as Sanskrit or one of its related regional and vernacular dialects. The advice of Indology scholars indicates that the Rukhian dialogue, while containing some recognisable Indic words such as dosha ('evil'), also shows European-type phrases. Hence, the translations given in TS do not necessarily follow the meaning of the dialogue. The Temple Priest's words, doubtless made comprehensible by pantomimic gestures, are repeated or questioned by the villagers: 'Unkeitha hu! (They are alive!); 'Hub sa jumphti odt, hu keitha! (Two of them are alive, at least); 'Un nukkha jan ru! (They are not killed); 'Guth, baith un pai hai dosha! (Back, they may have the Evil Eye).
(6) TS pays out the group entrance, giving the first appearance and first line of dialogue in English to Traherne speaking to Crespin: '(In a low voice): Are you all right, Major? Meanwhile, Crespin is guiding Lucilla out of the wreck: 'Come along, Lucilla. Look out for the edge of that propellor'. Lucilla's opening line 'Take care, Antony! then follows after the entrance of the two men. Her visible appearance is delayed until Crespin's jump down and Traherne's line 'Are you all right, Mrs Crespin? Not very much shaken? Her entrance produces from the crowd 'A loud cry of surprise and fear'. Louise Jordan Miln's novelisation of Archer's play text provides subtle and convincing subtextual commentary on the tense relations between the trio, particularly in this first expository scene.
(7) After her arrival on the stage floor, 'The crowd again talks fearfully.
(8) While Crespin drinks, the Temple Priest tells the Messenger sotto voce, 'Dhabo tho nuxman aur Raja Sahib ko dolb (Run to the palace and the Raja Sahib), which produces 'an answering murmur of assent from the group as the Messenger runs up the Centre path and exits Left.
(9) TS directs that 'As Crespin starts to advance towards the Temple Priest who is at LC the Priest touches amulet, and cries out to the Natives: 'Guth! Baith un pa hai dosha! The Chief Villager repeats 'Ghussalo tho dhosha (Beware the Evil Eye), causing all to fall back saying 'Dhosha! while making the sign to avert the Eye, described as 'a gesture of the left hand, with the back of the hand to the left eye, the second and third fingers closed against the thumb; the native looks through the opening'. This reaction then helps inform Traherne's next line to Lucilla: 'You were splendid, all through'.
(10) The Temple Priest's salaam is accompanied by the words 'Ga nuktho ghumtha (I do not understand you).
(11) Crespin says 'Ap Hindustani boltha hai? (Do you speak Hindustani?). The Priest repeats that he does not understand. Crespin perseveres: 'Is muluk name kin (What country is this?). The Priest replies 'Baith an dujko sorch laku? Kha mein tho jummach ko umhadao'. (I suppose you are asking me where you are? This land is sacred to our Goddess).
(12) The Priest's explanation is given: 'Kha hai Adythum (This is her temple). 'Au ka jahah kaman sa gulbia (She beckoned your ship out of the sky). 'Kha main tha hunthal Maharaj ka (The land is ruled by our Raja). 'Go hai nuxman (That is the palace there). 'Ha khaja un ka hasthi (I have sent for him). 'Kumajo heinga dha (He will be here soon). Then follows Crespin's line 'It's no use--he doesn't understand a word of Hindustani'. 'Adytum is the Latin translation of the Greek adyton, the inner forbidden sanctum of a temple.
(13) 'Pojalusto, chto eto za strana? ' The Priest replies: 'Eto tzarstro--Rukh--Rukh! Rukh
(14) The name of the newspaper is not identified in JCW. There is a town called Abdulabad on the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, in the Caucasus region. Until the end of World War I, it was part of the Russian empire, when it became the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic until the Bolshevik state, hungry for the oil of Baku, invaded in April 1920 and established an Azerbeijan SSR. The 'Abdulabad of The Green Goddess appears to be in British-ruled Indian territory, though the choice of name might have recalled to contemporaries the violent post-war reshapings of Europe and Asia.
(15) 'Shto eto tam nazdaniya? (What is that building up there?)
(16) 'Rubas ! Ga khaja tho Raja kinla hai. Ratho hun wast'. (Stop. I have sent word to the Raja of your coming. Wait for him.)
(17) 'Vy khotite chtob my zdes ostlaees? (You want us to stay here?)
(18) 'Radja pridect (The Raja will come.)
(19) TS has Crespin sitting on a vermilion-coloured stone. The Priest objects: 'Kia burtha hia? Humar! Thull. Koud-hi nukko na (What are you doing? Impious barbarism. Off with you. Do not dare). His propitiations to the stone are: 'Siewah Siva. Ganan gahi churro. Dhaisa ha suer ko? Gum log tho nukko mustha. Purwana. Purwana (I sacred Siva, it was not my doing. Could I prevent the pig? Do not visit it upon us. Have mercy on us. Have mercy on us.)
(20) Crespin's line 'Take care what you're doing is spoken during the Priest's prayers, which ends with his gesturing to a villager, who takes a wreath and hands it to him to propitiate the Goddess.
(21) TS: 'He probably did, but you didn't understand'.
(22) 'Lucilla shows embarrassment and anger and takes off her coat, which she spreads over the stone she eventually sits on.
(23) On this line 'Crespin snorts'.
(24) 'Two or three steps toward Traherne, looking at him with coldness'.
(25) This line is omitted in TS. Instead, Lucilla calls 'imperatively to 'Antony, then deflects the tension with Traherne with 'Won't you look at the machine'.
(26) TS directs that as Traherne exits upstage, 'the Temple Priest moves to the Temple as if to watch him. All natives now focus their attention on the unseen Traherne. Most of the crowd at L move upstage near the group on path upper LC'.
(27) Given the tension between the men, Crespin's line gains added significance.
(28) From here to Traherne's entrance with the newspaper, TS condenses this interchange between Crespin and Lucilla.
(29) From this point to the burning of the paper, those Villagers who are to shortly reenter as Irregular troops in the Rajah's procession begin to slowly exit L.
(30) The term 'great Panjandrum was coined by the actor-playwright Samuel Foote, in 1755, in a nonsense passage created to test the memory of the actor Charles Macklin. It was repeated the next century in picture books and, undoubtedly, used on the popular stage, accompanied by suitable music, for the burlesque processional entries of characters with inflated ideas of their importance.
(31) For this mass entrance, TS gives detailed instructions as to the order of entrance of the extras, their business and stage movements. The four Musicians sing and play a processional march 'Ekka Moki Chini, and some Irregulars in the procession are forced offstage in the crush, since they have five minutes to change into Regulars uniform for their next entrance. The tableau has the Negro standing on the bottom of the path, the Temple Priest upstage on the Temple platform not obscuring the image.
(32) TS has him speak this line 'roughly'. What Archer saw as the typical English ignorance of India is 'naturally accompanied by a total absence of tact', and 'the average British official, though honest, hard-working and efficient according to his lights, does little to mitigate the crude fact of racial domination (India and the Future, p.14).
(33) TS: 'Major, Crespin, Royal Engineers'.
(34) The Pahari (or Pahadi) are an agricultural Indo-European ethnic group indigenous to the Himalayas, living in Nepal, India and Pakistan. Here it serves as name for a hill station where the Crespin children are, whose location the Rajah takes care to discover.
(35) TS: 'They express interest in Goddess. Lucilla glances back with a smile at Traherne'.
(36) TS: 'Lucilla laughs is given before 'the Raja breaks off heartily (sic) to prevent any reply. This is beginning of the play's many overt references to 'civilisation and 'barbarism'.
(37) TS inserts an exit here for Watkins, who passes through the Musicians DL. He reenters with cushions after Crespin's line about transport to India.
(38) TS: 'Here the Irregulars on the Centre path break their group and move toward the path from the aeroplane, not getting quite out of sight--moving very quietly and slowly so as not to interrupt the dialogue'.
(39) TS: 'dusting pillow'.
(40) TS: 'Puts pillow on rock, crosses above group and stands above idol at LC, watching group'.
(41) During this exchange the 'sunlights change slowly'.
(42) TS: 'Throughout the next speech Watkins is immovable, eyes down.
(43) TS: The last sentence is delivered 'with veiled menace'. This sets up the Raja's later demands to Lucilla for 'guarantees'.
(44) TS: At the mention of the peerage, the trio smile.
(45) TS: On the 'fresh curtains' line, 'The Raja waves at Watkins as if to say: "That's Watkins"'.
(46) TS has the 'bodyguard as the 'Irregulars (i.e. not his uniformed troops). His 'sharp word of command is 'Ghutto dha sa (Get away from there)'. The grouping has the Raja up centre on the steps, flanked by Crespin and Traherne. Lucilla then moves a few paces upstage.
(47) The equivocal linguistic game typical of the Raja is clearer in TS, though still obscure to an audience. The Raja says to the Priest 'Un rhe ah' (Come here. What do you think of that?) The reply is: 'Uscha, Maharaj, k roc hai: Wo ta feringhi. Umdahac dhunka dolbiatha kanch' (That, Raja Sahib, is the Great Roc. I held those three foreigners. The Goddess called them as her victims). The Raja: 'Umhadao dhumko thung--la? (The Goddess brought them?) The Priest: 'Un na ba kublia. Aur chiddi shuma hirgia' (She pointed here. But the bird turning struck that rock). He is dismissed with 'Kabus ra' (That will do).
(48) The Rukhian people's identification of the aeroplane with this fearsome raptor anchors and ironises the name that Archer gives to his mythical country: an alternative version of the name for 'roc' is 'rukh' ('Roc (Mythology)'), and this 'roc' proves its namesake country's undoing.
(49) TS: 'Crespin turns with back to audience looking at them. He laughs contemptuously'.
(50) TS: Lucilla's rejoinder is 'spoken quickly to cover Crespin's laugh'.
(51) The Regulars, as they are called in TS, are given precise instructions as to where to enter and stand. 'The whole entrance must be sudden, precise and startling'. Meanwhile two onstage Irregulars (bodyguard) 'exit quickly to dress for litter bearers'.
(52) TS, on the contrary, says 'Lucilla rises. She is startled'.
(53) SDs in TS state that the 'lights on passage way are down to point #3 at this time'. There are many directions as to the quick re-forming of grouping by the main characters after the entrance of the Regular troops. The Raja is quoting Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake (1810) Canto 5, when the followers of the Highlander Roderick Dhu ambushes James Fitz-James, the alias of King James V of Scotland.
(54) In fact, the doubling of the Regulars with the initial crowd members means that, in terms of performance, they were actually already 'planted there'.
(55) Here the TS highlights the importance of the Temple Priest to the unfolding action. He exits into the temple, and re-enters to stand by the lower path, L, 'as if to watch the going of the procession of litters.
(56) TS arranges this action thus: 'The Raja takes Lucilla's coat from her, Watkins who is above and Left of him takes it; Lucilla quickly picks up newspaper, holding it close to her left side: Raja notices it, puts out his hand'. The 1930 movie preserves much of this action.
(57) The Temple Priest, in pantomiming the action, says: 'Ha. Dunna thukrum raphurka bhedi nulladia. Lumo hai phaki'. (Yes. He tore out a part and lighted his cigarette. These are the ashes).
(58) TS: 'Unfortunately, I lighted my cigarette with it'.
(59) 'Hands paper to Watkins'.
(60) This line, combined with the information about the three condemned men, exemplifies that erregende Moment which Archer says must ideally occur 'in the first Act to 'light the fuse of the play. He is using the terminology of the critic Gustav Freytag in his Die Technik des Dramas (1863) where the 'inciting' or 'excitatory moment commences the rising action.
(61) TS business has the Raja and Watkins handing Lucilla into her litter, the Temple Priest salaaming. Upon the line 'They are my brothers the Raja claps twice and the music for 'Ekka Moki Chini recommences. 'Crespin takes a few steps toward Traherne. Both men look at each other seriously; as they start to talk Watkins purposely interrupts them, presenting the canes'. In TS the last four lines of exchange between Crespin and Traherne are omitted, leaving the Raja with an effective last line.
(62) TS gives the order of the processional exit as Irregulars; Lucilla's litter; the Raja's litter; Traherne and Crespin; followed by Watkins carrying Lucilla's coat and the newspaper, picking up the cushion from the stone as he passes; the Negro; the Musicians; then other Regulars. The business of the Temple Priest prostrating before the Goddess is not stated.
(63) The 1930 film runs together the action of Acts 2 and 3, essentially omitting Act 2 and commencing with the playing of the 'Funeral March', which music continues through the action until Crespin pulls his gun on the Raja. Hence, there is no 'Arabian Nights narrative for Lucilla nor any discussion of the Parisian dress. The wonderful shawl is brought and presented to her without motivation, and later serves to restrain Watkins.
(64) TS: 'He stops to look at the Victrola in amusement'.
(65) TS: 'Not looking at Crespin'. The TS for this scene adds directions that keep alive the tension between the two men concerning Lucilla.
(66) TS: 'Turning away and walking toward the mantelpiece', he gives his line with his back to Crespin.
(67) TS: 'The same Green Goddess we saw...'
(68) TS adds 'A perceptible silence after Traherne's line. The movement directions show that the men are warily circling each other and using items of furniture to keep a mutual distance.
(69) Bokhara in Uzbekhistan is well to the north-west of the location of Rukh.
(70) TS gives the line about Haredale to Traherne, who speaks 'significantly', followed by a moment's pause.
(71) TS omits 'curse his impudence'.
(72) The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was the first major conflict where a European power was defeated by a modernised Asian one equipped with torpedos and submarines. Crespin's line 'We've never interfered with them is unwittingly comic.
(73) The TS makes it clear that Watkins enters after Crespin's line 'cut each other's throats at leisure, eh? and that Watkins is onstage for Traherne's rejoinder, which is followed by a pause before Crespin hails Watkins. This shows Watkins being drawn into the onstage tension, and hints at the violence to come when the men murder their fellow Englishman.
(74) So spelt. The princely state of Kashmir in India's North West was under the direct rule of the British Crown, and presumably is the nearest British territory south of Rukh.
(75) Now in Uzbekhistan, the city of Tashkent was from the 1860s part of the Tsarist Russian empire and the terminus of the militarily important Trans-Caspian Railway. It was the nearest significant Russian city to British India, and a centre of espionage and agitation.
(76) TS: 'taking a step nearer, and looking as if careful; confidentially'.
(77) TS adds 'He looks back at them with a gleam of humorous malice'.
(78) TS adds 'She shows relief at seeing them'.
(79) TS indicates that Lucilla 'stops them with a look of warning', dismisses the Ayah with a bow, and goes straight to 'I've had an excursion into the Arabian nights!' She is unsure what the Ayah understands of their speech.
(80) Both the silent and sound films of The Green Goddess show the 'Arabian Nights' journey, glimpses of harems and its female inhabitants being stock expected features of Orientalist spectacles. Rather than her experiencing a pantomime-type romp, Lucilla's narrated experience is amplified in the 1930 film as a fearful voyage into the unknown as she penetrates the hidden corridors of Bluebeard's castle. Glimpses of watching eyes and of a beautiful woman imprisoned behind a pierced screen indicate her own probable fate should she succumb to the Raja's propositions. This film, which omits the issue of the Parisian frock and the dressing preparations, places her induction into the zenana after the announcement that sentence will be passed on them tomorrow. It is clear that Lucilla is accordingly afraid of this space with its scimitared guards. The scene of the Raja's offers about fetching her children and breeding a Superman, and her refusal, is set inside this suggestively intimate location.
(81) Traherne laughs with his 'Open Sesame line, and Lucilla laughs 'in appreciation of his breaking of the suspenseful and fearful implications of Lucilla's story.
(82) TS has 'cupboards for the more regional 'presses'.
(83) TS compresses these two lines: 'It suggests a soap advertisement -"The Odalisque's Pool"'. Traherne scorns academic art as of little better standard than commercial advertising. Nineteenth-century academic and popular erotic pictorial genres show harem women in their quarters reclining in various states of luxurious undress, and were quite familiar to theatre, ballet and operatic audiences. John Everett Millais' painting 'A Child's World' (1886) was retitled 'Bubbles' and used as an advertisement for Pears Soap. The passage helps convey both the characters' eerie sensations of dream or nightmare, while supplying jocular details of deja vu popular Orientalism which the audience can also decode.
(84) The mad Sultan Ibrahim of Turkey (1616-48) allegedly ordered all of his women to be thrown into the Bosporus tied in sacks.
(85) The zenana was the women's or family quarters of wealthy Hindu or Muslim households in India. Europeans were made aware of these women by the writings of religious missionaries who sought to educate and render medical aid to them.
(86) TS omits Lucilla's attempt to remember Watkins and instead has Crespin: 'There's something we don't like about that fellow, and I've a strong notion that I've seen him before--in India. Take a look at him'. Watkins then enters in time to hear the last two words.
(87) TS: 'Pause during which Watkins with covert insolence mutely waits for more questions'.
(88) This exchange is compressed into 'Lucilla: No, I don't remember him, but I agree with you. He's not a man to be trusted'. As in the Knopf text, this handily frames the Raja's entrance.
(89) In TS, the Raja enters accompanied by a Regular, who stands by the door, and is preceded by the Major Domo who backs into the room. Both of these attendants then leave. Upon his entrance all rise.
(90) Dawk (or dak): historical term used in India to mean a system of mail delivery or passenger transport along a route, consisting of relays of runners, bearers or horse or camel riders. It originated in the area (Pakistan) close to the play's setting, where the East India Company ran its own postal service after their conquest of Sindh (1843). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scinde_Dawk).
(91) In TS, this business is elaborated as the Major Domo, bearing four cocktails, enters simultaneously with Watkins who places candlesticks on the table. The Raja announces: 'This, gentlemen, is a Watkins cocktail'. The men drink and place the empty glasses on the Major Domo's tray and he retires.
(92) At the time of the play's premiere, the characters and audience were indeed 'still in the Anatole France period '. The pro-Dreyfusard Francois-Anatole Thibault received the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature and died in 1924. In 1922, his entire output was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum: an apt tribute to his unflinching freethinking and anti-clerical socialism in an age of emerging European fascism.
(93) August-Maurice Barres was also very much alive: he died in December 1923. The polar opposite to Anatole France in both literature and politics, the antiDreyfusard Barres involved himself with Action Francaise, the anti-semitic and clericalist monarchist party which advocated a mystical, ethnic and ultramontane nationalism, and still sought revanche for the 1871 French defeat.
(94) Sur la pierre blanche (The White Stone, 1905) is a futuristic fantasy dealing satirically with the fears of the 'yellow peril and advocating the rise of western socialism ('the white peril').
(95) TS omits this exchange between Lucilla and Traherne about France as he and Crespin take the opportunity to talk together upstage. The Raja's question about Bernard Shaw's impudence, directed to Crespin, breaks up this colloquy.
(96) This joke is omitted in TS. Shaw wrote his play John Bull's Other Island (1904) on the Irish question, hence Crespin's confusion. The illustrated weekly John Bull (1820-1964) was the voice of populist British patriotism and hence more familiar to the Bullish Major.
(97) TS adds to the Raja's line 'You know these little instruments?' (the Victrola). Thereupon, there enter two Servants and the Major Domo, plus Watkins, who take their places behind the guest chairs.
(98) Archer here may have initiated the popular identification of Charles Gounod's comic-macabre short composition as a signifier of the irony of impending doom, which Alfred Hitchcock also exploited as the theme tune in his 1950s TV programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
(99) Play-Making (140) allows some exceptions to Archer's survey of modern staging as 'one act, one scene'. Plays such as Pinero's Iris, Barker's Waste or Galsworthy's The Silver Box drop the curtain on the same scene in mid-act to indicate such passing of time as might occur in the stages of a dinner party.
(100) TS commences this scene with the Raja: 'Well, shall we go in? There is an edge to the air at these altitudes, as soon as the sun has gone down'.
(101) Watkins is not in this scene in TS. The Raja instead gives the order about the shawl to a Servant ('Tahruptu al-ho') and to the Major Domo to light the room ('Thebuth nubau'). Servants constantly enter and exit with table items during this scene, framing the seemingly intimate quartet of Raja and guests with constant reminders of his military resources.
(102) TS stipulates that Lucilla and the Raja take a cigarette though Traherne refuses, while Crespin has a cigar.
(103) TS omits this line.
(104) TS has the Raja saying 'Ruk ja tha' (Bring it to me) to the Ayah, and inserts more business between his taking the shawl and placing it on Lucilla's shoulders.
(105) In response to the Raja's question to Traherne, he answers 'Very in a 'disconcerted manner.
(106) TS inserts an exchange before Lucilla's question. She commences to say 'Why won't the stars--'while Crespin simultaneously says 'What about our arrangements--'. The Raja cuts him off and asks Lucilla to repeat her question in full.
(107) TS condenses this passage from 'because he's big'? to the killing of the mosquito.
(108) The Raja instructs the Major Domo to leave the liqueur bottle: 'Kummel gra' (Leave the Kummel by him). The Major Domo of the TS is constantly entering and leaving, attending to the table, candles, etc.
(109) After 'life is a colossal blunder' there is marked 'a general laugh'. Gautama Buddha was born in the foothills of the Himalayas.
(110) In TS, the 'superman passage is omitted. The text runs from 'bluffed by us Rajas below to Crespin: 'All this philosophy is out of my depth'.
(111) There is a hint here of Archer's superimposition of the figure of the Raja on the German foes of Britain and their racialised Nietzschean ideology, which of course had currency in other countries as well (see Introduction).
(112) TS omits all material about the Raja's mother.
(113) The Raja here concurs with Archer's views on Indian religion, As expressed in India and the Future (see Introduction).
(114) TS gives Crespin's question as 'In what way? He is again the sahib barking at the natives.
(115) An all-purpose Asian word for Europeans, originally Persian (lit. 'Frank').
(116) TS: 'primitive views'.
(117) TS omits the sentence about Pope, and the last sentence about uncles and nephews.
(118) TS has 'Switzerland for 'Petrograd', and omits the last sentence about 'masterly inactivity'.
(119) In this speech, TS omits the text to commence with 'Although I am what is commonly called an autocrat' and 'I took a pretty good degree at Cambridge, in Moral and Political Science'.
(120) The quotation is from Dickens, David Copperfield (Chapter 33): 'it is an irksome incident in my professional life, that I am not at liberty to consult my own wishes. I have a partner--Mr. Jorkins'. When David applies for a position with the law firm of Spenlow and Jorkins (Chapter 23), Spenlow claims he would be prepared to grant favorable terms but that his partner would not approve. 'I was quite dismayed by the idea of this terrible Jorkins. But I found out afterwards that he was a mild man of a heavy temperament, whose place in the business was to keep himself in the background, and be constantly exhibited by name as the most obdurate and ruthless of men'.
(121) In TS, the text jumps from Crespin's 'Will you come to the point, sir? to the Raja: 'The point is that the religion of my people has not yet emerged from the Mosaic stage of development, removing the implicit comparison of his priests ('the clerical party') to the Anglican hierarchy.
(122) Here, however, the line reads: 'Not I, Madam. The High Church Party'. The following two sentences, making their execution conditional on that of his brothers, is omitted.
(123) TS has this line as: 'Oh, not in cold blood, Major, there is nothing cold-blooded about the Goddess'.
(124) 'Le Ciel defend, de vrai, certains contentements/ Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements. (Moliere, Le Tartuffe IV, 5, 1487-88). TS omits this reference to the Raja's pious tartuffery. The words of the religious hypocrite Tartuffe assure Elvire, the object of his lecherous advances, that Heaven is open to special deals or 'accommodations of its laws when circumstances seem to make it attractive. This doctrine was commonly associated with Jesuit teaching and hence anathema to Archer. The Raja here signals that he is not averse to making similar sexual accommodations concerning Lucilla, despite the iron grip which, he claims, formulaic religion holds over his people to limit his own power.
(125) This action is condensed somewhat. The SDs have Lucilla '[rising] in horror and backs quickly, as far as the ottoman, away from him'. After 'the suggestion remains open Crespin draws his gun and finds it empty of ammunition. Then the Major-Domo, a soldier and a servant enter with the note.
(126) TS omits the three lines after the Raja's exit, and the scene takes up with Lucilla's collapse 'My babies! The SDs state 'From this point until the wireless the lines are almost incoherent--tumbling on top of each other'.
(127) The scene is worked a little differently after Lucilla's 'to leave them all alone in the world', Traherne says 'Shh! For God's sake, don't let them hear us. They're sure to be listening. Please, Mrs Crespin--hush!' Crespin adds: 'Hush--Lucilla. Hold hard. Don't let him think you're afraid. Quiet, old girl, quiet!' Lucilla replies 'What can we do? Think of something!
(128) TS jumps straight from Lucilla's 'Offer him every penny we have in the world to Traherne's 'We can't possibly be so far from the frontier as he makes out'.
(129) The wireless in use during and after World War I did not transmit natural sound, nor were voice-enabled domestic receivers -'radio' or 'wireless' sets--yet in operation for entertainment and information broadcast on public networks. The 'wireless of the play is wireless telegraphy using Morse code, invented in the late 1830s. The message is sent along telegraph lines, cables or radio circuits. The telegraph signal is sent by the operator clicking a key to send his dots and dashes (dits and dahs) whether en clair or in code for security, and transcribing the result. Since the 1990s Morse has fallen out of international usage due to the development of digital communication systems.
(130) The SDs note that the message being sent is 'Have you any information regarding Rukh's tribesmen? Crespin's line is altered to 'They're transmitting in code or I could read their messages'.
(131) Here, Crespin 'starts up toward the loggia as it to listen from there'. Traherne checks him.
(132) Archer is probably recalling the symbolic costume of the brilliant shawl which Ibsen's Nora assumes for her tarentella in A Doll's House, and which she takes off when discarding her masquerade as a submissive wife. Lucilla uses the wonderful shawl, which the Raja bestows on her as a mark of ownership, in order to deceive him about her acquiescence in his plans. TS omits this action.
(133) In TS, Traherne merely says: 'If you can, it would be best'.
(134) Crespin's rejoinder to Traherne's 'It'll come back to you in TS is 'Damn it'. The Raja's entrance is accompanied by the Major Domo and a soldier.
(135) Effects of sunset occur in three of the four Acts of this play.
(136) During summer the cool mountain city of Simla was the administrative and social capital of the Raj, which in winter moved back to Calcutta.
(137) Again TS removes the Raja's seeming concessions and provisions. The sentence 'Even if your government agreed'... extort such a concession is cut.
(138) Here 'Crespin and Traherne glance at each other.
(139) The TS direction for this business is: 'Raja stands a moment watching closed door, then selects a cigarette from case on table; he stands motionless looking out, his body seeming to grow taller as his plans mature in his mind. He snaps the cover of the cigarette box closed, then walks to L pillar and switches off electric light. Goes to mantel lights hanging below Goddess, lights cigarette slowly and then makes an ironic salaam (a flippant wave) to the Goddess. As Raja walks into the darkness THE CURTAIN FALLS. The only lighting remaining in the blackout is a 'small spot in fireplace and small Goddess light'.
(140) To prevent domestic pilfering, bottles of alcohol were locked in a decanter aptly called a tantalus, after the character in Greek mythology who, like Crespin, was tormented by thirst. This tantalus is however hospitably unlocked: the cravings of the Major appear no threat to the Raja.
(141) This paragraph in Knopf is omitted in TS. Maybe the portraits of European conquerors and philosophers of conquest were judged to be unnecessary or illegible to the audience.
(142) The illustrated satirical gossip and fashion weekly La vie parisienne (1863-1970) advocated the new arts in prose and high-quality graphic design. Its advanced views and eroticism would hardly recommend it to Crespin, who anyhow dismisses all foreign literature as 'muck'.
(143) The tricoteuses knitted at the foot of the guillotine as the heads rolled: Charles Dickens in particular horrified English readers with this spectacle of unwomanly radicalism in his A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Traherne adapts it as tribute to Lucilla's British pluck. Prisoners before execution were held in the Parisian mediaeval palace-prison of the Conciergerie.
(144) Here the text makes overt the 'dream play' aspect of the characters' experience, as discussed in the Introduction.
(145) Chota hazri, which Archer knew from his own time in India, is a small repast generally served as breakfast. Fine champagne is an expensive blended cognac. TS condenses this to omit everything from Crespin's 'Yes, she's game--always was to resume with Traherne's 'Where does this door lead?'
(146) TS, as usual, emphasises the militaristic aspect of the 'palace-fortress' with the Raja's entrance accompanied by a Captain 'who salutes and exits'.
(147) TS cuts the Raja's line after '... find the altitude trying?' with business which emphasises his ownership of the space: 'He sits, picks up a memorandum or two and glances a them'.
(148) During this speech, TS has the Raja 'talking over the desk' to Crespin, 'signing documents', and speaking 'as if to a child'.
(149) On 'by all the gods the Raja 'rises'. On 'I mean to see it paid tomorrow! 'Crespin makes movement toward Raja. Traherne takes Crespin's arm, and they move to C. Crespin pulls himself together'. Then the Raja 'resumes his suave manner'.
(150) TS has Crespin's 'Of all the infernal purring devils as an aside to Traherne, who restrains him silently. Raja's 'Dignity speech is cut, though upon the two men's exit to the billiard room he offers Crespin the cigars, which he refuses. The Raja then checks that the wireless room door (up centre) is locked before seating himself at the writing table, listening for the click of billiard balls door DR. Archer thus sets up the opposing spatial architecture for the significant unseen offstage sounds that raise the tension during this Act.
(151) Watkins seems to have remembered to address his employer without dropping his aitches, but perhaps it is an oversight on Archer's part. With this scene Watkins and the Raja re-commence their comic-sinister duel of guile.
(152) TS has 'They're game enough. I will say that'.
(153) TS omits this two-line interchange and resumes on the Raja's 'yes: Watkins--It has occurred to me'...
(154) TS inserts a meaningful 'pause after Raja: 'I have my doubts', and then: 'Watkins'. Watkins: 'Sir? Raja: 'Have they made any attempt to bribe you?
(155) The Raja 'Rises: puts out cigarette', leaves his position behind the desk and approaches Watkins up centre.
(156) The Raja's movements in TS suggest a deliberate fake-horror attempt to unsettle Lucilla. As the retiring Ayah opens the door to the palace (up R), the Raja steps behind it and, as she moves C, he 'pops up from behind door and intercepts her movement into the room. Some of the 'puppet mood of the previous Act's 'Funeral March of a Marionette is again being evoked, and the Raja takes it up explicitly with the 'unaccountable puppet-show' a few lines later.
(157) A Persian proverb runs 'Speak of angels and you can hear their wings', with a similar meaning to the English 'talk of the devil and he appears'.
(158) TS elicits that he 'sidles in as if trying to hide what it is, closing the door behind him'. The Raja also invites Lucilla to a talk before dismissing Watkins.
(159) TS omits the last sentence.
(160) TS end this line at 'the priests and the people'.
(161) TS omits this sentence.
(162) This exchange is condensed, from 'being Oriental? it cuts to 'I feel for you, I do indeed. I know what it must mean for you to be torn from your children', then to Lucilla's collapse on 'My babies. Prince, if I write them a letter of farewell ...'
(163) Mahatma, Sanscrit for 'great soul', is an honorific title for enlightened and prominent people.
(164) TS cuts this speech after 'sea of the Himalayas to resume with 'No, Madam, I cannot risk it. But there is one thing I can do for you'.
(165) TS omits Lucilla's taunting of the Raja, and the scene resumes with 'I cannot undertake to send a letter to them ...
(166) TS omits 'I do not talk to you of romantic love' ... never pretended to respect any other woman.
(167) For the Superman, see Introduction.
(168) Lucilla's business with the handkerchief is worked differently in TS. At the Rajah's words 'Your son she puts it to her lips. It is not yet revealed that he is talking of an unborn future son. Upon 'the Superman--will be born she takes her handkerchief from her mouth, and the Raja comments 'Your lip is bleeding'.
(169) This interchange is abbreviated up to 'Yes--but on what conditions?'
(170) Lucilla has seen the 'back rooms of the women's quarters and views such a fate as helpless slavery.
(171) TS transposes this last sentence to add to her exit line 'The only possible answer'.
(172) TS takes the heat out of the prior exchange by the Raja's response which cuts the comment on the 'last word'. Instead he 'moistens tip of his right index finger, smooths eyebrows and says 'I wish she'd worn that purple Frock'. Then he sits at the writing desk and calls Watkins. Rather than the latter appearing 'immediately', the Raja calls twice before he appears at the C door.
(173) A bit of business is interposed here: 'He glances with malicious humour toward billiard-room, but instantly becomes the respectful servant'.
(174) This sentence if omitted in TS. The Raja shields his intentions from everybody and knows he has to keep a sharp eye on his fellow-rogue Watkins.
(175) This is modified. To 'give themselves away', Watkins replies 'Yes sir'. The Raja adds: 'If they move so much as an eyelash, Watkins!' and 'They look at each other as if recalling a torture both know. A pause'.
(176) Here TS directs 'They smile at each other'.
(177) 'Watkins' smile withers'.
(178) 'Sullenly, under his servant's tone'.
(179) TS inserts more discord and hidden menace into this exchange than is evident in the suave conspiratorial exchange in Knopf. At the Raja's '... at Lahore or in London 'he rises. Watkins' hands curl up in fear'. The Raja continues 'very sweetly : 'So I rely entirely on your discretion. Of course, if they show any signs of wanting to get at the instrument' ...
(180) TS arranges the new proxemic relationship as the Raja to R of the wireless table in the upstage inner room and Watkins at the opposite end. Below them is Traherne in the upstage R armchair and Crespin (whose reaction to the ensuing scene is the more dramatically important) in the downstage one, while Lucilla, immediately upon her entrance, puts the Raja's writing table between herself and the Raja by sitting in his chair, placed between desk and the window that she later threatens to jump from. The detail is omitted of her shifting to this position from her first choice of the couch only when the Raja makes to sit beside her.
(181) TS includes the Morse code for the standard starting signal call: -..-..-.. (dah dit dit) repeated twice with an extra final dah. After Watkins' pause 'They look at Raja expectantly'.
(182) TS gives the wireless message in Morse for the benefit of the sound effects operator, since it must be in correct text. Many in the audience would be familiar with Morse and be listening at least as attentively as Crespin. It was understood by very many people ranging from military and marine signallers and Boy Scouts to ex-servicemen and the growing army of amateur radio fans, and was in fact a universal language.
(183) During the transmission the Raja carefully studies the three. Crespin covers his tension with the cigarette business.
(184) The Raja quickly produces a twelve-word message, to match the message actually sent.
(185) 'He closes the folding door, having first crushed the slip with pretended furtiveness into his right handpocket, puts the keys into his left-hand pocket'.
(186) 'Rugenhar hai dolb aha' (His Holiness waits outside).
(187) In TS, this introduction is placed after the Raja's 'I must attend to in person'. He says 'Kha hai dasaf buckro' (These are the White Goats), whereupon the Priest gives his salaam and then the Raja explains why his 'manners are not good'.
(188) In TS, the Raja's preceding speech 'The Archbishop's manners' ... anthropologist is placed after the 'introduction and after 'Archbishop of York the Priest gets straight to business: 'Dundabusth sul ka unaba razoor ahi, Maharaj' (Arrangements for tomorrow's ceremony, your Highness).
(189) 'Tiffin' is the term for a light snack or lunch used by the British in India. In TS, the Raja delivers this exit line from the doorway, the Priest meanwhile holding open the door for him.
(190) The Raja says to the High Priest 'Hathar ubbi salaam' (It would be best to bid them farewell). The Priest growls back 'Salaam saluhak fasaf, buckro! (Farewell then till tomorrow, oh White Goats!) and salutes contemptuously.
(191) On the two parts of this line TS repeats his prior performance of joke menace by 'popping in and out again' through the door.
(192) TS omits this last sentence.
(193) TS omits Lucilla's appeal to her husband and his response.
(194) Here Crespin moves to lean over Lucilla's shoulder while she redrafts the message, whether as a gesture of support or of supervision.
(195) The dialogue is cut from Traherne's 'We have to use force to resume at Crespin's 'There's only one thing'. There is a tendency to 'soften Lucilla in this version, so the significance of her offering of the shawl as weapon is lost, as the script shortens to increase tension.
(196) These two lines of Crespin and Traherne are cut.
(197) TS omits Crespin's gulping of the nerve-giving drink and Lucilla's dismayed response, and his line is cut to commence with 'Now ring that bell', which is done by Traherne.
(198) Here Traherne adds: 'Give me that scarf, please and ties a knot in it. The planning is being reshaped as a largely masculine initiative.
(199) Upon his entrance Watkins confronts Lucilla on the downstage end of the sofa, with the now lethal scarf carelessly thrown over it; Traherne in the 'Raja command position behind the writing desk, and Crespin in the downstage RC chair placed between the two 'palace entrances R. He does not register that this grouping is a potential ambush.
(200) 'There is an eager, expectant feeling in tone and manner'.
(201) A phrase common during the War to assert what Britain was fighting for. Somerset Maugham's satirical comedy Home and Beauty was performed in 1919. Like The Green Goddess, it shows a woman choosing between two 'husbands', one of whom has unexpectedly survived the war.
(202) Watkins here has his moment as the Shavian servant-raisonneur, like the dustman Alfred Doolittle of Shaw's 1912 comedy Pygmalion, except that Watkins is embittered and disaffected about patriotism (he was of course not alone in this) rather than being the breezy amoral gutter Superman.
(203) TS has ''is nibs'.
(204) TS cuts Watkins' condition about India and Traherne's agreement.
(205) Here he throws on the writing desk the message that he was given, and advances DRC.
(206) 'Crespin glares at Watkins, who grins. Crespin strides angrily to below upper armchair and stands there'.
(207) TS adds an interchange between Watkins and Traherne, where the former attempts to exit and Traherne stops him, relieves him of the IOU and cash and gives him the message. He grumbles 'Oh. All right--all right and unlocks the upstage wireless room door.
(208) Again, the Morse is given in the TS, but as Crespin perceives, it is not identical with the standard wireless call heard previously. He is merely keying a repetition of letter 'A' [._/].
(209) TS works this scene thus: Watkins 'message is merely the numerals '1, 2, 3, 4 etc. repeated until he is gagged. Crespin's line becomes 'That's not a message. He's not sending a message at all. He's fooling us. He's sold us.
(210) TS adds: 'There is a pause of horror. They listen for the body to strike. A shudder. Then Traherne masters himself'.
(211) TS omits the factor of turning down the electric current so no message can be sent. In a daytime scene the characters would not notice dipping lights. Crespin's service call is 'AS (for Amil-Serai) repeated [.-/...].
(212) Crespin's SOS is 'Crespin Traherne prisoners Rukh Raja's palace until he is interrupted by a shot outside the palace door, upstage right. While Traherne tries to hold the door he continues to transmit.
(213) The Raja is heard outside: 'Who's holding this door? Someone is holding this door'. [To Captain of Guards] 'Hukdhalo thub, jugan ta (Push it in then, three of you together). The Captain responds with 'Therath (Ready). 'Chull (Heave).
(214) TS omits 'When the cat's away'. After he fires 'there is a long prolonged note on the wireless'.
(215) TS shortens this Act finale. The three soldiers who burst in to tell the Raja of finding Watkins' body are omitted, as is the arrest of Traherne and the Raja's stroll to look out the window. His final line is 'All over, eh? [Traherne nods 'Yes'.] And he didn't get through. The Major has laid down his life in vain. We will adhere to our programme for tomorrow'.
(216) TS calls this super the Guardian Priest. The 'group of Priests in the previous paragraph of SD are identified as Blue and Yellow Priests. The pencilled music cues for this opening scene calls for 'Song, 2 drums and a 'Gong'.
(217) This action is given not to a guard but to the Guardian Priest, who upon opening the shutter calls 'Durpa Feringhi ' (The foreigners are coming).
(218) As the door is opened 'the shrieks of the crowd crescendo'. Traherne is introduced 'blindfold and the High (Chief) Priest curses Traherne: 'Sat tu sicurah da non lasharay andarah, guescha bect-cha, liberal dubo toto suferanza. Kay sat ychi; kay sat ychi (Death to you; death by terrible torture. You pollute our sacred temple. The Great Roc found you. It brought you here. Death, suffering, the curse of the Green Goddess be on you). Camillo Formigatti advises that the first part of this speech is transliterated Italian: 'Sei tu sicura di non lasciare andare questa vecchia, liberala da tutta [la] sofferenza', roughly something like 'Are you sure you want to release this old woman, free her from [the] suffering'. The 'Rukhian' lines appear here to adopt a Romance-based stage pidgin just familiar enough to convey the gist to an English-speaking audience, aided by intonation and gesture. The other Priests ad lib such execrations as 'Feringhi', 'Transhai', etc.
(219) Upon his entrance, the Raja interacts with the Priests. He orders them 'Puch rao' (Be quiet). 'Gul nukthro'(Make no noise). The Chief Priest takes up a central position with the Yellow Priests behind him. Then the Raja orders a soldier 'De defa a runko--guf tha'(Take off the blindfold--free his hands). They do so and leave with the chair, the door being opened by the Guardian Priest to cue a 'subdued murmur from without.
(220) The deus ex machina, in Classical times a piece of stage machinery like a hoist for enabling divine entrances from above-stage, is by extension the name for any literarydramatic device for the miraculous unravelling of desperate plot complications. For once, the irony of the Raja's statement is true dramatic irony, since the situation will in fact be resolved by means of the aeroplane--an actual, if offstage, machine, wielding divine thunderbolts of vengeance--and the entrance of Cardew, its godlike pilot. TS condenses this first interchange thus: 'Traherne: Why am I brought here? Raja: This is where the final rites begin. The Knopf text resumes at Traherne's 'What have you done with Mrs Crespin?' During this first passage of action there are cues that the Raja is watching the Priests closely.
(221) The Raja's speech 'Do you know what brought you here' ... you shall not escape me is cut. Upon the cue 'subjection and insult the crowd outside 'breaks into savage cries, climaxing in a wild yell cut short suddenly. A high wail for a few seconds'. The Raja explains: 'The Major's body, Doctor. They are laying it at the feet of the Goddess. You see I had three brothers--a head for a head'. The audience might well assume that these offstage sounds indicate a decapitation of the corpse, witnessed unknowingly by Lucilla who now is brought blindfold inside the temple. Knopf places the offstage entrance of the dead Major and the Raja's speech about the High Church party at his impending exit.
(222) Upon Lucilla's entrance the Raja repeats his order to 'Take off the blindfold'. Lucilla's hands are not bound. Again, as the chair is taken through the door, the crowd is heard murmuring outside.
(223) TS works this passage thus: 'Raja: Not long. When the sun sinks below the sacred mountains, when that beam fades, the ceremony will begin. It will be brief and I trust painless. The High Church party is not incapable of cruelty, but I have resolutely set my face against it. [He again turns to R and looks at Priests. The Chief Priest, who has been gazing with cruel eyes, lowers them for a second]'. This interpretation of the rite emphasises a potential conflict of wills between the Raja and Priests.
(224) Here TS directs the Raja to order the Priests out: 'Pum ap og dhunko' (We will leave them alone). They all then exit into the robing-room.
(225) The Raja's response is less flippant in TS: 'I wonder if you granted Watkins' last request--poor Watkins--a great loss to me. But a la guerre comme a la guerre. I bear no malice for a fair act of war. What is your request?' The phrase is equivalent to 'all's fair in love and war'.
(226) Exterior shots of the temple courtyard as the pair arrive in the 1930 movie show three wooden pyres in readiness.
(227) Before his exit the Raja adds: 'When I return I shall be for the moment not a king but a priest and I must observe a certain dignity. Ridiculous, isn't it? He then repeats his offer to Lucilla regarding her children. Throughout this Act up to this point, the TS cues a constant drum 'like a heartbeat', which now stops. During the brief Raja-Lucilla interchange there is an offstage solo male voice 'wailing a melancholy song identified as 'Koge', and the singer continues throughout the Lucilla-Traherne duologue with a piece 'Shun-Shun'. The JCW script shows that at some point these two songs were cut and the sombre mood managed through lighting cues: the light inside the chamber dim while 'amber spots' through the window mark the coming of sunset.
(228) Archer again animates the 'Doll's House question of whether a mother's duty to her children is best served by leaving them if she feels herself morally unfit to raise them. TS condenses this passage somewhat. The dialogue, though important to Archer and heartfelt, is rather discursive, and some condensation could be considered an improvement from the audience point of view.
(229) In the period of writing this play, Archer's desperation over the fate of his son Tom, who was killed in France in the last phase of the War, led the severe rationalist into contact with spiritualism. This line blends together hope, disbelief and ridicule at the idea of Crespin, the beefy John Bull figure, materialising as filmy ectoplasm. Only in June 1921 was Tom Archer's grave located (Charles Archer, 334).
(230) TS moves quickly through these speculations: the 'spiritualized Anthony and the 'spirit microscopes are cut up to Lucilla's 'kiss me back again', whereupon Traherne, rather than 'starting up', 'takes her in his arms and says; 'Oh, Lucilla, don't. Don't remind me of all we are losing--all that this life might have meant for you and me--for you and me, Lucilla'. The amber spots are now down one-third.
(231) 'She puts her arms around him'.
(232) Traherne's speeches 'Rather than live without you'... me and heaven ' and the succeeding 'Wisdom!' ... for ever and ever' and condensed, and the reference to the 'idol is thus removed. The amber spots are now two-thirds down.
(233) TS has 'See the light has gone down. The shadow is upon us. The time has come. Goodbye, dear love'.
(234) The sound and light cues here in TS are a bell and offstage murmur, plus 'two staccato heavy drum beats at R. 'The curtains part slowly, letting in a bright light of amber which covers Traherne and Lucilla. There is a shudder of horror from Lucilla at what she sees, and Traherne, as if to protect her, swings her down-stage toward R so that he stands above and to her Right. Off stage at R, with the continuous beat of the drum accompanying it whe whisper of the Ritual is heard'.
(235) The ritual chants are given in TS as a kind of litany in praise of the Goddess, with the Chief Priest giving the cue and the Priests responding to each line: 'An natringa, An natringa, An natringa, Theron umhadao' (You shall dance etc, Green Goddess); [Priests repeat her name]; Chief Priest: 'Siska koak ahi thara' (Whose eyes are stars); 'Sisak loab ahi gulgie' (Whose locks are the forest); [Here the Blue Priests enter and take up positions]; 'An natringa'; 'An beja ha thalinga luch' (Your tongue shall lap warm blood). Upon the last invocation 'Umhadao wah' a group of Black Priests enter to stand behind the throne. Chief Priest: 'Uk thoura an ka wo thipa' (A woman shall lie in your lap) 'Uk mudhai an tahou ke neech' (A man shall lie under your feet).
(236) TS realises the Executioners differently, see below.
(237) TS choreographs the chanting processional entrance and movements in five main groups: (1) High Priest and Yellow Chief Priests in pairs; (2) Blue Priests with incense burners (3) Black Executioners in single file (4) Raja surrounded by Yellow Priests (5) High Chief Executioner, solo, cued by the gong. The Raja mounts the throne sits at the conclusion of the song 'Koge', heard offstage. The red light in the brazier before the Goddess, which has glowed throughout this Act, now emits a 'vivid flash of light'. The chant continues with the Blue Priests dropping incense into the brazier, which flickers, while chanting 'An natringa', culminating in an ensemble cry of 'Theron umhadao', upon which the drums stops and there is silence. Then the Chief Priest 'with great intensity and dignity raises his arms to the Raja and Green Goddess and says 'Siska rise ahi kaman'. This cues a 'great gong off right.' Then 'the curtains part slowly, letting in an amazing flood of light. The shrouded Chief Executioner, with the poison vial in his enters with a rapid undulating glide. The Raja stops his progress with a sharp 'Daraho!' (stop). The Chief Executioner 'stops, but holds a position as if ready to spring at any moment'.
(238) This line is transposed in TS to the Raja's previous exit.
(239) TS and the 1930 film abbreviate this exchange and omit the Raja's threat to Lucilla's children. The line which precipitates Traherne's attack is 'I can send you back as my concubine'.
(240) TS has Traherne seized by the three Black Executioners and two Priests before he can reach the Raja, with their backs to the audience masking Traherne. The Guardian Priest puts himself between Lucilla and the throne, then he and a Blue Priest exit through the curtains. The Chief Priest execrates Traherne: 'Nuk Nuk Thanshai, Feringhi Thanshai' (No, no, devil, foreign devil). 'Aie Feringhi thansai' (Ah, you foreign devil). 'Was kistho an rumrago rikhurl' (For that you shall die by torture). While Traherne is held by two Black Executioners and the Chief Executioner runs to door R, 'all the Priests turn toward the Raja in fright', the Chief Priest and others drop to their knees while others assume attitudes of horror and terror. The Chief Priest's supplication to the Raja is; 'Wo an khutham ruppa' (He has polluted you); 'Upenog rusoor dhasi gusthoor' (We must use the ancient rite). Other priests repeat 'Dhasi gusthoor'. The Raja assents: 'Uchba y rusoor gahi' (Well, it shall be done). The Priests turn toward Traherne with 'glad hate', muttering curses at him. The Raja commands them to silence: 'Ga dolbinga' (I will tell him) and motions Traherne's captors to bring him nearer.
(241) The Raja's command here is 'Chor--nuk dhol' (Torture him).
(242) 'Ghundar la-oj' (Take him in there). Here the drum and bell stop.
(243) TS has Lucilla 'with sudden strength pulling herself free of his grasp.
(244) On 'I want you with all the blood he 'seizes her and forces her to her knees now holding her L hand behind her with his R hand, supporting her back with his L arm'. This speech stops in TS with 'elemental woman', at which he embraces her, followed by the 'plain offer'. The Raja expresses one popular (mis)interpretation of the Nietzschean Ubermensch. 'Are you going to women? Don't forget the whip!' (Thus Spake Zarathrustra) is and was widely quoted.
(245) It may be considered a weakness in the play's structure that Lucilla is not required to make the obligatory crucial choice which Archer said will make or mar 'the character and the fortune of the chooser and of others ' (Play-Making, pp. 51-2). It seems rather an example of what he calls 'blind-alley themes where the choice is between equally acceptable alternatives which 'merely paralyze our sympathies and inhibit our moral judgement' (pp. 340-1). Possibly, Archer's understanding that frequently there are no good choices required expression, while dramatically he solves it with the kind of 'mediaeval tricks which he denounces in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure or Sardou's La Tosca (the bed-trick and the knife, respectively).
(246) JCW's Electrical Department orchestrated the aeroplanes with two vacuum cleaners muffled by blankets, a fan and drum. Their approach is managed by adjusting the appropriate blankets to show the locations and movements of the planes.
(247) This is a clear memory of the famous finale of Boucicault's 1858 colonial rescue melodrama Jessie Brown; or, The Relief of Lucknow when the sharp ears of the heroine first detect the bagpipes of the approaching relief force: 'Hark--Hark dinna ye hear it?--dinna ye hear it? Ay! I'm no dreaming', it's the slogan of the Highlanders! We're saved--we're saved! (Boucicault, Jessie Brown; or, The Relief of Lucknow, p. 131).
(248) The interchanges between the Priests and Raja are: Chief Priest: 'Nubbo. Chitti zanki. Un beja ha thalinga luch' (There are six big birds flying overhead). Raja: 'Wachatha?' (What do you say?). Chief Priest: 'Zokum ha godltha. Was zuna chatha thunnie Feringhi' (One plane has landed. An officer is coming this way). Raja: 'Durpa heinko'(Bring him here). The Guardian Priest repeats this order by shouting off by the left door, rather than the Raja shouting down from the balcony and thus glimpsing the approaching pilot. In the virtual spatiality of the play, the mountainous princedom's only safe landing area is the terrace above the Palace, but Cardew appears to land his plane in the immediate temple precinct.
(249) TS thus omits the lines about airmen mostly being boys, and gives his command to the Guardian Priest: 'Durpa heinko' (Bring him here).
(250) TS omits the direction 'cross-legged' for this reception. It is used however in the 1930 movie, when the Raja sits thus on the throne upon his second entrance, and resumes this posture for the movie's (and the play's) last line, directed by Arliss straight to camera.
(251) The Raja's insinuation that he can easily deal with the aeroplane presence is omitted in TS.
(252) The semi-divinity of the wartime fighter (not bomber) pilot gives the youthful ace Cardew his cultural authority. Since the 'machine' in which this 'god' comes to earth, and those of his squadron, are only heard and described (at least in the theatre: in the films they are depicted), the play avoids the full force of theophany: the direct revelation to humanity of a judging and destroying godhead. As with the Green Goddess, we see only representations or partial revelations of the supreme powers.
(253) The Raja's authority is diminished immediately by this usurpation of the conversational initiative. It is now he who must submit to ultimatums and deadlines. TS reverses the order of the Raja's challenge and Cardew's reply, and Cardew's first lines are directed to Traherne and Lucilla.
(254) Cardew thereupon takes some steps towards the throne and 'looks at Raja in silence, then speaks abruptly his line 'Who are you?'
(255) TS shortens this exchange: 'I am directed to demand the instant release of His Majesty's subjects, forcibly detained by you'. The Raja replies: 'Demand? I am prepared to discuss terms'. Cardew: 'I am not here to discuss terms.' My friends in the other planes are circling above your palace, and if they get no signal from me within three minutes of my landing--(Looks at wrist watch). This cues the first bomb, the noise being made by a double-barrelled shot-gun. The events of late 1918 up to the play's 'present' are being re-run here. The Allies rejected all offers from Germany of a negotiated peace: only total defeat was acceptable. Then the post-armistice food blockade maintained by the British and American navies during 1919 starved to death many thousands more German civilians and forced the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost its Empire and the West Lost the World (New York: Three Rivers, 2008), pp. 77-81).
(256) This deeply ironical line is cut in TS, replaced by the Raja's 'If you have killed one of my people, sir, no power on earth can save you'.
(257) As it now past sunset outside, the searchlight is presumably aeroplane equipment.
(258) The Raja's attempts at calling Cardew's bluff are cut in TS. The scene jumps from the second bomb cue to his 'Well--I'm afraid I must confess, Lieutenant Cardew, that my game is up. I give in. This comes of falling behind the times. If I only had anti-aircraft guns--'.
(259) Cardew adds 'Then you accept our demands?' The Raja replies with a bow, 'Barbarous Asia bows to civilised Europe'.
(260) This recalls 'a la guerre comme a la guerre': the Raja's earlier comment on the death of Watkins. This play is pervaded by echoes of the problem which structures War is War: how to draw a distinction between the armed violence by armies in wartime and that of civilian franc tireurs. With force on his side, Cardew merely dismisses with a shrug the calculus of atrocities.
(261) The dialogue is cut in TS from Cardew's 'All clear for the moment, Raja to the latter's 'Your side has the best of the transaction by four lives to one'.
(262) He says to the Guardian Priest: 'Gundar odt jinga. Thissy uk ga naklo (Assign an escort. They may go.)
(263) TS assigns this sentence to the Guardian Priest, reporting to the Raja: 'Guchem hi galolfa'.
(264) The Raja switches his persona once again to that of the pantomime ogre.
(265) The three TS curtain tableaux are: (1) Raja lights cigarette; (2) Raja sits on throne, looks up smilingly at Goddess; (3) Raja and all on stage for applause.
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|Publication:||Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2013|
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